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4 books of Bill Porter

In 1989, Bill Porter, having spent much of his life studying and translating Chinese religious and philosophical texts, began to wonder if the Buddhist hermit tradition still existed in China. At the time, it was believed that the Cultural Revolution had

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Bill Porter is the ideal travel companion. His depth of knowledge of Chinese history and culture is unparalleled. His wit is ever-­present. And his keen eye for the telling detail consistently reminds us that China is not what you think it is. Yellow River Odyssey, already a best-­seller in China, reveals a complex, fascinating, contradictory culture like never before.

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While flipping through the atlas of Chang Ch'i-­yun, one of China's most famous geographers, distinguished translator Bill Porter (Red Pine) developed a curiosity about the southwestern province of China. Dubbed Yun-­nan, “­South of the Clouds,­" this was the last area modern China to come under Chinese control. Originally conquered by the Mongols and eventually introduced to foreigners as a vibrant setting for trade, Yun-­nan became a critical crossroad connecting East and West.
In 1992, Porter left his home in Hong Kong to tour the small towns and major cities of Yun-­nan, studying each of their local cultures and larger impacts on the trajectory of Chinese history. Here, he shares his encyclopedic knowledge of the nation's beautiful legacy while introducing new insight about the province's landscapes, people, and recent state of affairs. He visited Bulang Mountain, where the local people had no written language of their own, so they sent their children to live as monks in...

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Chinese civilization first developed 5,­000 years ago in North China along the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River. And the Yellow River remained the center of Chinese civilization for the next 4,­000 years. Then a thousand years ago, this changed. A thousand years ago, the center of Chinese civilization moved to the Yangtze. And the Yangtze, not the Yellow River, has remained the center of its civilization. A thousand years ago, the Chinese came up with a name for this new center of its civilization. They called it Chiangnan, meaning "South of the River,­" the river in question, of course, being the Yangtze. The Chinese still call this region Chiangnan. Nowadays it includes the northern parts of Chekiang and Kiangsi provinces and the southern parts of Anhui and Kiangsu. And some would even add the northern part of Hunan. But it's not just a region on the map. It's a region in the Chinese spirit. It's hard to put it into words. Ask a dozen Chinese what “­Chiangnan"...

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Books of Bill Porter